Friday 29 March 2019

Flowers, Insects and Fish at NT Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

The weather was set fare on Saturday so we took a picnic lunch to NT Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.

It was good to see more signs of spring, including this Arum Lily and...

...these lovely primroses.

There were a number of 7-spot Ladybirds, mainly on the dry leaves. I guess some may have been emerging from their over-wintering layers.

Some were scuttling about or resting in the sunshine.

We ate our sandwiches by this flint churchyard wall where I noticed a Red Underwing (Catocala nupta) in 2016. Sadly we failed to find any moths this time.

This was the view over the wall, of which more in a moment.

I always enjoy seeing the Oxburgh Hangings, stitched by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick, but on this occasion the spring weather kept us largely out of doors (though we did visit the tea room and secondhand bookshop).

I noticed this log-bench by the path in the woodland area, and thought what a brilliant bit of recycling. I could do with one of these benches in our own garden!

We could see these beehives in the area near the orchard. If you don't keep bees or have space for a hive, you might like these Green&Blue bee-bricks, which I read about on Instagram - or you might prefer to place an insect hotel in your home patch: my hotels have certainly been taken over by some grateful residents.

We heard a lot of munching in the stream and wondered if there could be a Water Vole. We stood and waited, but nothing actually appeared.

However, in another part of the stream, we noticed quite a few fish. I guess they are Sticklebacks, but my fish knowledge is negligible. I wondered if one was preparing to lay (or 'fan') some eggs. Unfortunately my camera failed to cope well with the underwater conditions...

The scene above brought back memories of the tiny BBC Springwatch hero from RSPB Minsmere, Spineless Si!

It is always a joy to find a Bee-fly. I must add this record to the recording list.

The 'summer house' by the stream, designed along the lines of an original that was used by Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld and his friends and relations, draws me every time.

On this occasion the summer house was empty so we were able to take up residence for a few minutes!

It was soon time to head to tea room for a slice of lemon and lime cake.

We decided to pay a quick visit to the church next door. There are extraordinary pink terracotta carvings in the chantry chapel.

You will note from the signs above and below that the village uses a different spelling from Oxburgh Hall.

village sign

Light was fading and it was time to head for home.

The Oxburgh Hall sundial


Gillian Osborne said...

Yes, your fish WAS a three-spined stickleback - a female very heavy with eggs. I used to keep these as a child in an aquarium so have a very soft spot for them. I was thrilled to bits when Spineless Si made such an impact on the general public on Springwatch as it just goes to show you don't need to travel overseas to see fascinating and exotic creatures.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Gillian, so much for your kindness in leaving this comment. I wish I had spent a bit longer watching the fish, but now at least I know to keep an eye open! I do recall hearing about Sticklebacks as a child, but I think we usually talked about 'minnows and tiddlers'! I guess the 'tiddler' probably WAS the three-spined Stickleback.

Ragged Robin said...

What a lovely day out in beautiful surroundings - your photos are wonderful Caroline. So much of interest to see at the Hall - the flowers, the insects, fish and church :) I saw my first Bee Fly last week and they have now appeared here in the garden.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely photos and so many signs of Spring! I must keep an eye out for the arums appearing, I often see the berries in the autumn but have so far failed to find the arums in Spring!

Kay Weeks said...

When I read your line, "the day was set fare..." it drew me into your Saturday
adventure. Held and uplifted by everything you photograph and tell us.

Kay Weeks said...

Although I'm far away, I always love reading about what you see, and how you describe it - and, of course, your wonderful annotated photographs. It's almost like being with you!

Lowcarb team member said...

I enjoyed your post and seeing all your photographs - loved the one of you in the summer house.

Have a good week ahead and a happy April too.

All the best Jan

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Gillian, RR, CGP, Kay and Jan, so much for your kind comments. How lovely, RR, to have Bee Flies in the garden. We have had them here at home, too, but only on a couple of occasions, though, of course, they may have been here more than I have seen them!). How strange, CGP, about the arums as I rarely find them in autumn with their bright berries. But now at least I know one place to look... Thank you, Kay... and I always think of you when my eye is drawn to the cloudscape overhead! And, Jan, what I would give for a summer house like that!

Amanda Peters said...

What a great blog post Caroline your photos are stunning especially like the first one, looks like you had a beautiful day.
Amanda xx